The question on the ballot papers might be asking for a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but bookies are offering a much wider range of markets that promise to make the outcome profitable for shrewd punters, whichever side of the border they're on.
From the off, the margins in the Scottish Independence Referendum have been much tighter than many of us, including the politicians at Westminster, could have predicted. Only days ago, a YouGov poll put the separatists ahead at 51 points to 49 – the first time the prospect of independence looked more like a probability. Whether the last minute rallying cries of David Cameron and Ed Miliband smacked of passion or panic, there are still no foregone conclusions in this campaign.
For players with their own hunch on which way the vote will swing come September 18th, the 'vote percentage' markets are an excellent way to cash in. With things likely to go down to the wire, a bet on the ‘yes’ vote receiving between 45 - 50% of the vote seems a sensible option, with Ladbrokes offering 10/11. For anyone sure that independence is on the cards, get on a 50 - 55% ‘yes’ vote at 7/2.
If you think these markets are a little too close to call, there are plenty of other options for stats-savvy punters to explore. Players with a little local knowledge could make a packet by predicting the area with the highest percentage of 'yes' votes - Dundee is currently the hot favourite as the only city odds-on to vote to leave. There’s also the chance for budding economists to predict what the official Scottish currency will be in the case of independence.
Even further removed from the emotionally charged political debate, the 'turnout percentage' market is an attractive prospect for neutrals. The turnout at the last three Scottish Parliament elections has been around the 50% mark, and Ladbrokes Sports are offering attractive odds of 6/1 on a turnout of less than 80% and a win for the ‘yes’ campaign.
Of course, with the stakes so high for the Scottish people, many are predicting a record turnout. The Daily Mail has reported that 97% of eligible voters have already signed up, while a YouGov poll found that 85% of people surveyed were 'absolutely certain' to vote next week.
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